Review: Behemoth - Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Series: Leviathan #2
Genre: YA, alternate history, steampunk
Published on October 5, 2010
Published by Simon Pulse
Pages: 481
Read From: 2.19.12 - 2.21.12










SYNOPSIS
The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers. 
Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory. 
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

Review

There is absolutely no denying that Behemoth is exciting, as it picks up right where Leviathan left off, and we Readers are immediately presented with a heart-stopping battle between the airship and two German battleships - and a brand-new Tesla cannon. While Leviathan was exciting enough, Behemoth is doubly so, but well-paced at the same time. As a Reader, I didn't feel like I was getting overwhelmed with blazing guns and chases and espionage. Keeping the number of people who do and don't know Deryn's secret was a little confusing at times, but for the most part, just forget about that and enjoy the rest of the story.

I would certainly say that Behemoth is better that its prequel. While beasties certainly make appearances, they are not nearly as numerous in this installment, because the majority of the story is spent in Istanbul and they are a Clanker nation. For the most part, it was actually easy to forget about the beasties and thoroughly immerse yourself in the strange, yet majestic, world of the Ottoman Empire's creature-shaped machines. While the Author tried to paint Istanbul as a city choked with smoke and noise, I saw it as an exciting, interesting, and even beautiful place. I loved the machines. Because they were shaped like animals, they were just awesome.

And on the side of the beasties, I have to admit that even with the few appearances of them, it wasn't as invasive. The creature which hatches from the mysterious eggs is actually cute, and the behemoth is a really neat sea creature. The living diving suit did disturb me (the regulator was a creature you put into your mouth!! Nasty!), but for the most part, I was able to ignore the Darwinist monstrosities.

The characters all continue to be perfectly good characters. Deryn is still a convincing boy, even with her crush on Alek. I, at first, didn't like this new relation between him and her, but it is not too often mentioned, and Deryn does not begin to act silly because of it, still full aware that Alek sees her as a boy and unless she wants to give up her career in the Air Service, she had best continue to act like a boy. There was a slight moment of worry when Alek meets another young and beautiful girl, and Deryn starts to feel jealous, but the Author turns this situation into a very hilarious little episode, and anyway, Lilith is a very good character in her own right. I hope she turns up again in Goliath. And I will commend the Author in being able to write a female character who can believably pull off a boy disguise as long as Deryn does. Well done, sir!

All in all, Behemoth was an improvement from Leviathan, and if Goliath is anything like this one, I can see myself fully admitting that I actually do really like the series, rather than telling everyone that I am simply and unhappily divided in my opinion of it. One thing is for certain, though - I'll never get used to the beasties.

Others in This Trilogy:
1)Leviathan
2)Behemoth
3)Goliath

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